My husband and I have been talking about going to see the Panama Canal since our first cruise to Alaska in 2006. We have finally retired and decided on the Christmas Cruise to the Eastern Carribean and Panama Canal on Island Princess.
She is the sister ship of our Alaskan cruise ship Coral Princess so she was familiar in layout.
We stayed in a local hotel the night before the cruise and decided to get to the Port early. We were in a group of about 25 people who showed up early and were given the number one to be called for embarkation. We were called about 11 am and went on board. Embarkation was smooth and effortless. We walked around and took pictures for a while and then went to lunch in the Horizon Court. We decided to check out our room and found our luggage already delivered.
We had a balcony cabin and layout was good with plenty of storage and hangers.
We had requested late seating (715p) in the Provence Traditional dining room but we were assigned a 715p seating in the Bordeaux Dining room which is used for Any Time Dining. This caused confusion as first we were told to get in line and wait to be seated but I questioned why we were given a seat and time assignment on our Cruise Card and still had to get in line. Hostess then told us to go right in to our table and to do this every night. It took several nights until the hostess and wait staff recognized us and did not ask where we were going!
We enjoyed the dining very much, had great wait staff who remembered our choices in beverages and food came fairly quickly with only rarely a wait time.
Entertainment was excellent, we went to the production shows, comedian, juggler, singers. Everything was very professionally done.
All the cruise staff were polite, pleasant and helpful.
We booked all our excursions through Princess. The one excursion in Panama was cancelled by the tour company and we were reimbursed by Princess. We did not schedule another excursion but decided to watch the departure through the Gatun locks.
All our excursions were very informative and very organized and on time. We had excellent tour guides who answered all questions and brought us back to the ship on time. Would like to give a shout out to Fran in Limon, Jose C in Cartagena and Sonia in Grand Cayman who did excellent tours.
We also scheduled airline flights through Princess EZair as this was recommended by travel agent as the best prices. We had problems with delays on American Airlines so would not use American again.
Overall we were very pleased with our cruise!
Clean typical balcony cabin. One drawer in one night stand was stuck so couldn't use but had adequate storage and closets.